Nut and Bolts of Safety in Afterschool
Every day thousands of children attend afterschool programs. It is critical they have the opportunity to grow and learn in healthy and safe environments with caring and professional staff. Following health and safety best practices is an important way to provide quality afterschool programs for children.
Here are five tips for keeping kids safe in afterschool.
1. Coordination With School Staff
The most fundamental way to protect our students is by working closely with school staff to communicate about student attendance, about the school environment, their transportation, and more. Close coordination between school staff and Flex staff ensures accountability and that no students are at risk.
2. Onsite Coordinator
Providing an onsite coordinator at an afterschool program to serve as a front-line staff person to immediately address any issues or situations that may arise during afterschool activities is important when it comes to student safety. Onsite coordinators are skilled professionals who are the first point of contact for parents and school staff members regarding any concerns they may have regarding a student, a vendor or any other issue. Importantly,
3. Check-in And Check-out Of Students
It’s important to provide an onsite coordinator with a roster of students participating in each afterschool activity. By making sure to check-in students at the beginning of classes and check-out students at the end of classes, teachers are cross-checking with school staff for any “missing” students. They account for their absence during the school day and then the parent is contacted if necessary.
4. Check-in And Check-out Of Afterschool Teachers & Vendors
An onsite coordinator should be responsible for checking-in every afterschool activity vendor and ensuring that they are delivering a quality program every day. Vendors should know that their continuing participation in programs at any is conditioned on their ongoing performance.
5. Background Checks
All activity vendors should be required to complete background checks of every staff member who teaches a class at an afterschool program. These background checks are critical for afterschool safety and are all professionally done by reviewing the employee’s records in several key areas:
- Social Security verification
- Address trace
- Local criminal record search
- National criminal record search
- Sex offender registry
Successful completion of these background checks provides parents with a level of confidence in the character of the instructors who are teaching their students.